Preview: Wednesday's five play-off first legs

Porto and Roma – group stage contenders last season – meet in the play-offs, with Dundalk looking to continue their journey. UEFA.com previews Wednesday's first legs.

Dundalk training in Dublin on Tuesday ahead of their play-off against Legia
Dundalk training in Dublin on Tuesday ahead of their play-off against Legia ©Sportsfile

Porto v Roma
Nuno Espírito Santo, Porto
We are confident that we'll compete for everything – we are totally focused and mentally prepared for this match. It will be tough as Roma are a side with history in Europe, but we want to be in the UEFA Champions League. We want the best club competition in Europe at the Estádio do Dragão.

Luciano Spalletti, Roma
We are a different team now [from when I arrived in January]. We lost some great players, we bought some others and we had lots of injuries. We now have a more experienced side, more professional with the arrival of players from big clubs. At the moment we have a strong squad with character and we are ready for this important tie.

• The clubs' only past UEFA competition encounters were in the 1981/82 European Cup Winners' Cup second round; Herman Stessl's Porto triumphed 2-0 at home and drew 0-0 away a fortnight later.

Dundalk's prolific forward David McMillan
Dundalk's prolific forward David McMillan©Sportsfile

Dundalk v Legia
Stephen Kenny, Dundalk
Beating Bate Borisov can only give us confidence to progress to the group stage. We've done our homework on Legia Warszawa. They are a good side that have struggled in the last few weeks to pick up results, a bit like ourselves. It's been a collective effort since I took over. The players have bought into my ideas, they are hungry and fearless and go into every game thinking we can win and outplay any opponent.

Besnik Hasi, Legia
Dundalk have gained my respect because they beat BATE 3-0. Dundalk are a compact team and it's dangerous to think we are better than them. Our last two results have been poor and we need to improve and focus only on [this match]. We need to play our best in all areas if we are going to win. Our players have no excuse not to give it their all – there is a group stage place at stake.

• Legia first faced Irish opponents when they took on Dublin club Saint Patrick's Athletic in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round; they drew 1-1 at home but recorded a 5-0 win in the away leg.

Fran Escribá took over at Villarreal last week
Fran Escribá took over at Villarreal last week©Getty Images

Villarreal v Monaco
Fran Escribá, Villarreal
We have lots of players missing like Víctor Ruiz, Bonera, Soldado, Bakambu, Jaume Costa and Cheryshev, but the rest are ready so it's not a problem – in fact, it's a nice challenge. We all want to get a good result, but we have to realise there is a game in Monaco to come.

Leonardo Jardim, Monaco
I know Villarreal very well; they have a lot of missing players but so do we. I don't feel more pressure than last season, it is always the same. We always play to win and this is no different. We have lots of injuries but the team are ready to play without [Radamel] Falcao.

• The Yellow Submarine defeated Odense 4-0 on aggregate in their only previous UEFA Champions League play-off, in 2011/12. Monaco lost to Villarreal's Liga counterparts Valencia at this stage 12 months ago.

Celtic beat Astana in the third qualifying round
Celtic beat Astana in the third qualifying round©Getty Images

Celtic v Hapoel Beer-Sheva
Brendan Rodgers, Celtic
Taking the club into the Champions League would be important. It's important for the club as the club is synonymous with the European Cup everywhere in the world. I'm satisfied in terms of our preparation. I'm happy with the spirit of the team. The Champions League is a very, very important competition.

Barak Bakhar, Hapoel
It would be a joke to say we are the favourites, especially here in this stadium. If we play well and lose, it's not a good result. It depends on the game. I'll tell you afterwards if it is a good result or not. Every game is the most important in my career; we always want to improve. I am counting on the team – they are working well.

• Celtic boast Israeli talent in the form of midfielder Nir Biton, who joined them from Ashdod in August 2013. He is the third Israeli international to represent the Glaswegians following Eyal Berkovic and Beram Kayal.

Plzeň coach Roman Pivarník at Tuesday's press conference
Plzeň coach Roman Pivarník at Tuesday's press conference©Stoyan Georgiev

Ludogorets v Plzeň
Georgi Dermendzhiev, Ludogorets
I am sure we have the experience to perform well in both legs and achieve our target. We are improving step by step with each game. The players know how to play this fixture; we must be as intelligent as possible. They are a very strong side and I expect two very tough battles.

Roman Pivarník, Plzeň
Ludogorets are a tough outfit. They like to have possession and control the tempo, but they also have very skilful and direct attacking players who are dangerous on the break. They are very good in the transition from defence to attack.

• Ludogorets overcame Plzeň 2-1 in a friendly in Turkey in January. Marcelinho (28) and Lucas Sasha (52) scored for Ludogorets; Matěj Končal (56) replied for the Czechs.

Reporting from Carlos Machado, Ronan Farrelly, Alberto Infantes Sánchez, Emmanuelle Hingant and Stoyan Georgiev

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